ST. TAMMANY PARISH, La. - Voters opted for a clean slate in the St. Tammany Parish coroner’s office, rejecting one of Peter Galvan’s deputies in the runoff, and instead electing retired Dr. Charles Preston to fill the post.
Complete but unofficial returns show Preston defeated Dr. Leanne Truehart, 58 percent to 42 percent, in Saturday’s runoff. Preston will fill the remainder of the term of Peter Galvan, who is now serving time in prison on federal corruption charges.
Both Preston, a retired emergency physician, and Truehart, who is director of mental health at the Coroner's Office, said they promised to restore faith in the office, following the Galvan scandal and guilty plea. Preston also touted his medical experience.
"I'm extraordinarily honored that the voters of our parish have chosen me to restore honesty and integrity to this office," Preston said in a statement. "I look forward to taking office as soon as possible and renew my pledge to work with openness, transparency, and an absolute commitment to getting the job done right."
Though she worked in Galvan's office, Truehart tried to distance herself from the disgraced former coroner.
"To restore accountability, transparency and professionalism to the office and really help the public understand why it is that I'm the best candidate for this position," Truehart said were her goals.
Galvan is now serving a two-year federal prison sentence, after pleading guilty to federal corruption charges, including misspending public dollars and giving himself improper sick and vacation time.